Arizona takes a hard line on illegal drugs, with many laws aimed at reducing illicit drug use. Two such laws are A.R.S §13-3407(A)(2), which addresses possession of dangerous drugs for sale, and A.R.S §13-3407(A)(7), which addresses transportation of dangerous drugs for sale. A close look at the statute reveals that Arizona law does not explain how the possession or transportation is determined to be “for sale.” Because of this ambiguity, certain “threshold amounts” have been established, so if a person possesses an amount over that threshold, the possession or transportation will be considered to have been for sale rather than personal use. In addition, satisfying this amount subjects the defendant to punishment including a mandatory prison sentence.
Watch as David Michael Cantor explains the charges for Possession of Drugs or Transportation of Drugs for sale:
The threshold amount varies by drug, ranging from two (2) pounds of marijuana or one (1) gram of heroin to nine (9) grams of methamphetamine or fifty (50) milliliters of PCP. In the absence of the threshold amount, prosecution can also charge defendants under A.R.S §13-3407(A)(2) or A.R.S §13-3407(A)(7) by finding evidence of intent to sell, such as presence of a scale, individual packaging materials, large amounts of money, or drugs hidden in luggage. If you have been charged with an intent-to-sell drug crime, you need an experienced, devoted criminal defense attorney. DM Cantor may be able to help; you can contact our office at any time by phone at 602-737-2812 or by using our secure and confidential online form.
What are the Potential Punishments for Possession of Drugs for Sale?
A charge of either possession of dangerous drugs for sale or transportation of dangerous drugs for sale is not one to be taken lightly. Both charges are considered class two (2) felonies, and a first offense for a defendant with less than the threshold amount of drugs can result in between three (3) years and twelve years, six months (12.5 years) in prison or up to one year in jail. In addition, the defendant may receive probation and up to 240 hours of community restitution. If a defendant has one prior felony conviction, the prison term potential increases to between four years, six months (4.5 years) and twenty three years, three months (25.25 years). If a defendant has two prior felony convictions, the minimum sentence is ten years, six months (10.5 years) in prison, while the maximum is thirty five (35) years.
What are the Potential Defenses to Possession of Drugs For Sale?
Strong defenses to these intent-to-sell charges are those which dispute the alleged knowledge and intent of the defendant. For example, we can assert a defense proving that the drugs were not for sale, but were instead for personal use. While having more than the threshold amount does create a presumption that the drugs were for sale, presenting evidence to the contrary can defeat that presumption.
Additionally, we can assert a defense of “lack of knowledge”, meaning that the defendant was not aware he was in possession of the drugs. This can arise in a variety of scenarios, such as where a friend, roommate or family member leaves drugs in the defendant’s suitcase, luggage, or some part of his or her vehicle.
DM Cantor will fight charges from every angle, so we also assert more general defenses such as Miranda rights violations, which can occur where you were forced to make a confession or you were not properly read your rights. If those circumstances occur, we can suppress evidence resulting from those actions. In addition, the defense of “denial of the right to counsel” — where police question you and do not heed your request for an attorney — can also be effective in fighting your charges.
With many former prosecutors at the firm, DM Cantor may also assert defenses or seek to suppress evidence based on sloppy police work, flawed testing procedures, inaccurate crime scene reconstructions, improper photo line-ups, mistakes in police reports, unreliable testing procedures, invalid search warrants, false statements and other issues.
Intent-to-sale charges are serious, and having a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial if you want to retain your freedom. DM Cantor is a trusted, effective firm that has been given the highest Martindale Hubbell® rating of AV® and that has all of its lawyers listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. The Arizona Board of Legal Specialization has also designated David Michael Cantor as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. For a free consultation, you can contact the firm via our secure, confidential online form or by calling 602-737-2812.